Meetings to Look at the Future of Council Tax
Third Force News - Members of the public are being asked to take part in a forum looking at replacements to the Council Tax.
Citizens Advice Scotland, along with Dundee City Council, has teamed up with the Commission on Local Tax Reform to host a public engagement event on Wednesday, 26 August in the Hegarty Suite at Dundee United’s Tannadice Stadium.
It is one of a series taking place across Scotland during the course of August and September, with the Commission expected to complete its work in the autumn.
Minister for local government and community empowerment and co-chair of the commission, Marco Biagi MSP, said: “This commission has been all about continuing the debate on the future of how local government services are paid for.
“Central to this is understanding what local communities across Scotland think about what might – or might not – be a fairer way of raising the £2 billion presently collected from Council Tax in Scotland.
“Thousands of people have already been in touch with us to make their views known and this latest stage of our work will see us reach out to communities in Dundee to understand their views to help design a tax system that is fair and fit for purpose.”
May Kinninmonth, director of Dundee Citizens Advice Bureau and a member of the commission, said: “In 2014/15, Citizens Advice Bureaux clients across Scotland sought advice on over 29,000 issues related to Council Tax and Council Tax debts, 4% more than the previous year.
“It’s an issue therefore that affects many of the people who use our services in the Dundee area and beyond and that’s why we would encourage as many people as possible to take part in this event and make their views known.”
People can continue to respond to the online questionnaire by visiting the Commission’s website – www.localtaxcommission.scot.
Scottish Government Announces £1.7 Million for Town Centre Communities
Scottish Government (25/08/2015) - Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil has announced £1.7 million of funding to help revitalise and regenerate town centres across Scotland.
The Town Centre Communities Capital Fund is open to community organisations to support capital projects which will make real and lasting improvements to town centres.
Mr Neil made the funding announcement while on a visit to the Beith Development Trust in North Ayrshire, he said:
“Scotland’s town centres need to be fit for the 21st century, offering a diverse range of businesses, services and activities that meet local demand. There are already a few examples of communities getting involved in their town centres, introducing innovation and helping to reclaim them as vibrant social spaces.
“The Scottish Government recognises that people across Scotland are interested in the future of their town centres. This £1.7 million through the Town Centre Communities Capital Fund is intended to support enterprising communities with project proposals that complement our Town Centre Action Plan.
“By enabling and supporting enterprising community organisations to take action, we can help make town centres attractive and accessible places that are the thriving civic spaces we know they can be.”
Jane Lamont, Development Manager at Beith Development Trust, said:
“At Beith Trust we work alongside local people to provide opportunities for learning, skills development and personal growth which enable people to step up as makers and shapers within their community and lives rather than simply exist as users and choosers of services designed by external consultants.
“We believe in making things happen in town centres and in communities incrementally building up to bigger projects that can then help to transform the community. As well as our sports offer, we are now based on the High street in Beith which enables more people to connect with the different services that the trust offers. Being visible and joined up is key to the success of any community based organisation.”
Consultation Launched on the Circular Economy
Scottish Government (20/08/2015) - Scotland’s Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead has today launched a consultation on creating a more circular economy in Scotland – where products and materials are kept in high value use for as long as possible.
The consultation, which will run until the 30th October 2015, is the first step in preparing a circular economy strategy for Scotland - targeting significant potential benefits for the economy, through using resources more efficiently, creating new markets and improving resilience; for the environment, through cutting waste and carbon emissions; and for communities, with lower cost ways to access the goods we need.
The Cabinet Secretary said:
“The average UK household owns around £4,000 worth of clothes and around 30 per cent of clothing or 1.7 billion items in our wardrobes has not been worn for at least a year. The cost of this unused clothing in Scotland is around £2.5 billion.
"In a world of finite resources, where global population and consumption growth are generating volatility and vulnerability in the supply of raw materials, the circular economy approach offers a new and exciting perspective.
“At the end of the day, it comes down to making things last – whether that be designing complex products to enable remanufacture, or quite simply empowering people to repair household items instead of throwing them away, the concept makes sense for business, industry, the public sector and individuals.
“I am looking forward to hearing people’s views in shaping Scotland’s steps towards a more circular economy. It will conserve our finite resources, help support jobs in our communities, improve our quality of life, and it just makes good sense.”
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